Vision, Zero: Mission, Data

So, you remember how we’ve been doing a whole blog series on Vision Zero (Design for Our Lives) and how that helped us land the City of Durham as one of the first to pilot a more holistic urban design approach using a data-driven evidence based framework to Get to Zero, right?? Now, you many have been feeling some serious FOMO, but “we got 'yall” (yes, that’s a not so hidden Insecure reference)! Now’s your chance to get geeky with us and save some lives!! See below for how to get involved in our Innovate Durham Vision Zero project (hint, it involves our fave - lots of DATA!).

Mission: Life-saving Data

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves the recovery of micro-scale data that will save millions of lives. As part of the Innovate Durham program, you will help rid the streets of crashes and make them safer places to walk and bike. You will be a key partner in Getting to Zero fatalities on Durham’s roads. You will become an honorary datageek superhero, cape and all, and will be forever armed with the power to understand the value of urban design like you never dreamed of before (no seriously, you won’t ever be able to walk down another street again without thoroughly deconstructing what’s working and what’s not!). So, you ready to accept this mission? If you are a student (we really want you!), interested Durham community member, passionate datageek (currently or in-training), or just plain city lover, let’s make this mission POSSIBLE together — volunteer to become a certified State of Place data collector, now until September 19th — and let’s go save the world! (Michelle, our COO spells out the nuts and bolts of the mission below)

Calling all “Life-savers”

Professors, teachers, students, researchers, passionate Durhamers (is that a word?) and data geeks (with internet access) around the world - we need your help! We’re looking for volunteers, especially university and high school students, who have a desire to make Durham’s streets safer. We’re already working with some area professors who are offering extra credit or incorporating this opportunity into a service learning class project, but we’re very open to working with anyone who has a desire to get involved. Becoming a data collector and collecting State of Place data is very flexible and can mostly be done in your own time with access to the internet with a computer/mobile device (you don’t have to be based in Durham to participate!).

Data for Humanity

Volunteers will become experts at identifying the nitty-gritty parts of our streets that influence people’s decisions to walk (like benches, street trees, and curb-cuts - check out our Data Geekdom for more details). This effort is a key step in helping to establish a brand new State of Place forecasting model linking State of Place to traffic safety rates, which will generate specific urban design recommendations for how best to transform unsafe intersections and Get to Zero. The model will also predict near-misses in areas where crashes haven’t happened (yet) so cities can apply interventions before anyone loses their life. Yeah, saving lives? That’s what we call truly Smart. So, what’s involved you ask? Here are the deets....

Why Volunteer?

  • Volunteer service hours that help make Durham’s streets safer

  • State of Place Data Collector Certification

  • Opportunity to win a $100 gift card!

What’s Involved and When?

  • September 26th at 9pm EDT: Volunteer sign-up closes

  • September 27th: Volunteer Data Collectors confirmed/announced

  • September 28th-October 5th: Volunteers complete a web-based virtual training in their own time with support from the State of Place team.

    • Watch a training video and take 4 quizzes (~4 hours)

    • Watch a video to evaluate quiz results and complete a post-quiz survey (~1 hour)

    • Collect data virtually on 1 street block to verify accuracy (~20-25 minutes)

  • October 8th: Data Collectors begin collecting data

  • October 22nd: Data Collectors complete data collection (minimum of 16 hours but the person who collects data on the most streets wins a gift card - please note there may be some flexibility to have this minimum requirement to be 4-16 hoursbased on your individual availability)

How to Sign Up?

Click here to sign up. The last day to sign up is September 26th!

Evangelize the Mission!

Our Innovate Durham project is truly a matter of life and death. It’s about getting to zero fatalities on our roads and making the streets safer places to walk and bike. We can do this together with your help! Please volunteer or pass on this exciting opportunity to your friends and colleagues! Our COO Michelle Woodhouse would love to have a chat with you about your interest in our project and answer your questions. Please email her at

If you want to walk with us on the path to Zero or learn more about the work we are doing for Durham as part of the Innovate Durham competition, feel free to request a time to chat and/or take our software for a test walk!

Mariela Alfonzo